Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Amsterdam and Paris

Amsterdam, Amsterdam… The Dutch have really got it going on, work hard, play hard type of people. Out of the many cultures I was able to experience over the past few weeks, I was so impressed with this one in particular. The people are proud of their country and their city and the sense of national pride is unmistakable. The population as a whole is highly educated, but easy going and welcoming at the same time.

The Dutch capital is absolutely the most beautiful city I have visited. Multicolored gabled houses line the quaint canals and each little neighborhood is different from the next. Bikes, bikes, and more bikes… They’re a whole cultural phenomenon in their own right. I’m thinking that we really need to step up our game in the creativity expended on bike decoration in the US.

We stayed very close to the center of the city in a hostel called the Flying Pig, haha, definitely not the highlight of our sleeping accommodations. I ran every morning in a park that seemed to be quite the exercise hotspot at 6:30 a.m… who knew? I noticed that people run really, really fast there. Either that, or I’m a lot more out of shape than I think.

Museums in Amsterdam are a must go. The Rijks Museum is Holland’s top museum and contains many of the masterpieces from the Dutch golden age. I totally snuck a picture of Rembrandt’s Night Watch. I couldn’t resist. We also visited the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House.

Paris. I thought I was going to fall in love with this city. I’m not saying that I didn’t like it, but it fits the stereotype as seen in every movie and written about in every book. Yes, the Mona Lisa is tiny. It’s a masterpiece, but it really blows my mind that so many people go to the Louvre specifically to see this work, when surrounding it are so many treasures from every period and country in the history of art.

In Paris, we had a very interesting group. I traveled there with Becca and Allie. I went to high school with Allie and when we found out we would both be in Florence this semester, we reunited. Two guys, who also went to high school with us (they are studying in Barcelona), met us in Paris and we all stayed together most of the time. It was really a blast from the past because I haven’t seen them since we graduated. I forgot how much fun they were. The picture from left to right goes: Sebastian (we call him Sabby, as we have since 1st grade), Becca, Allie, me, and Matt.




  1. Did you notice any electric bicycles in Amsterdam? 30% of the bikes sold there are electric I'm told.

  2. There are quite a few, but not 30%. About 1.3 million bikes are sold each year and on average about 150.000 e-bikes a year for the last two years, so a little over 10%.

  3. Ciao Lindsey,

    unless you were on one of the past pilgrimages, I doubt I've ever met you - and I was browsing Merrimack's website to get Fr. Jim's office address (which I then got somewhere else...) and pretty much bumped into your blog... and read a few things... love what you wrote about Italy and it's 100% true! Hope you have a great time around Europe and that Italy treats you well!

    Buon tutto,